Xin Zhao Build Guide

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Radical's in-depth Guide to DPS/Off-Tank Xin

written by RadicalM1nd

Xin Zhao Build

Table of Contents

  • Abilities

    [spell=Tireless Warrior]
    (referred to as: Passive)
    Definitely not the best passive in the game. The HP is not enough to help you in (team)fights and if you would be laning it wouldn't give you that much staying power because you should just be lasthitting. Where this passive really shines however is while Jungling. 30 HP every 3 hits at level one will give you the power to start with golem and go through most of the jungle without recalling.

    Three Talon Strike
    (referred to as: TTS)
    This is what makes you a CC machine. It knocks enemies up, provides you with a great damage boost and has an awesome uptime in combination with an activated Battle Cry. It helps you jungling, ganking together with Charge and still shines Late Game.

    Battle Cry
    (referred to as: Battle Cry)
    Passive Attackspeed? I'll take it. Even more attack speed when activated? Hey, awesome.
    But what really makes this skill as great as it is is the additional active. 1second of cooldown reduction per hit while you're attackspeed is increased? Fucking great. This will help you spam TTS in teamfights and have your ultimate up whenever one starts.

    Audacious Charge
    (referred to as: Charge)
    The main function of this skill is to help you close in on an enemy and slow him. This will help you ganking and placing your Ultimate. The AoE is really small, so don't expect to damage and slow multiple enemies if they aren't clustered at one point.

    Crescent Sweep
    (referred to as: Ultimate, Sweep)
    Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what makes Xin Zhao a beast against any kind of character. Good base damage and another 20% of their current health in an AoE plus 30-50 Armor and Magic Resistance so you can TTS them like there's no tomorrow. A good placement of Sweep can make you win Teamfights.

  • Introduction

    Just another heads up: I haven't worked on this Guide in forever and I also haven't played Xin in a while so I have absolutely no idea how up to date this is. However i suggest looking for another,updated guide instead of using this one as it may fail.

    Hey everybody! RadicalM1nd here with my first guide on one of my favorite heroes: Xin Zhao.
    In this guide I will focus on a jungling Xin Build and introduce you to my main build as well as two other very viable builds for Xin. I'm trying to be as In-Depht as possible so don't be scared if you see walls of text. I hope this guide can help you play and understand Xin so I see him kick some more ass.

    Remember this guide is permanently being worked on!!!

    This guide requires basic knowledge of game terms.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!IMPORTANT UPDATE 12/19/2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I'm curently completely overworking this guide. I played alot more Xin and there's many things I changed my mind about. For example, Xin Zhao is not a good jungler in my eyes as of now. He can still pull it off decently if you don't have anyone else to take the jungle, but he's also really good solo top and on a side lane (Xin/Janna still kicks major ass).

  • Masteries + Runes

    My Mastery Build+Explanation:


    I revised my Mastery Build many,many times in the last few days and this is what I eventually ended up with.
    No matter how you look at it, the offense-tree is just not worth it if you're not a caster and going for the Magic Penetration. Of course the 2-6ArPen would be awesome but is it really worth wasting 9 or more points into things that you don't need? 4% AS is a joke, and so is the 2% critchance. It's also not worth going 21 in offense as you will only see the extra crit damage at 500+ crits and the 5% extra damage at really high base damage which you won't have in 90% of all games. So I skip it. The smite mastery is not worth it anyways, if it comes down to it, just wait 5seconds before starting the next camp.
    So now then,why 15/15 and not 9/21 or 21/9 you may ask? Well,with Tenacity it's the same deal as with Havoc, you won't notice the 4% reduce too much unless you are in a 60min.+ game. Now Presence of the Master is an awesome mastery but I'd rather get 4 armor and 45 help which help Xin's slow and dangerous early jungling while still getting full neutral buff duration and the movement speed boost.


    As for Runes I go:
    Greater Mark of Desolation x9
    Greater Seal of Resilience x9
    Greater Glyph of Shielding x9
    Greater Quintessence of Desolation x3

    Which will leave you with:
    25 Armor Penetration
    24 Magic Resist at Level 18
    13 Armor

    I don't think I have to go into detail on the ArPen Marks and Quints. You want to hit as hard as possible, especially with your ultimate and ArPen helps you best getting those 20% damage through.
    As for Glyphs I go with Magic Resistance because CCs and Magic Bursts are what hurt you most, and that's what you wanna change. As the only other viable option I can see would be CDR and you really have enough of that MR is the best option in my opinion.
    Now for Seals. I take Armor, as it really helps your jungling plus it adds a chunk to your survivability. You could also go with Dodge Runes if you prefer them, since they are more effective later in my opinion. But unless you're really lucky with dodges while jungling, Armor will help you alot more.

    No Health Quints as you can easily jungle without them and they simply loose their use late game while ArPen shines on.

    If there's any runes that are better in your opinion or anything else you don't understand feel free to comment on it and I'll add an explanation to the guide. I might also change my mind if youre convincing ;D


    From the comments:

    Quoted Text:
    Q:quick question, what's your opinion about armor seal > dodge seal?

    A: I tried to say so in my guide,but since you asked I'll elaborate on it some more:
    Obviously Dodging is much better than having armor as dodge disables ALL the damage and armor only a small amount. However dodge just has a small chance of working and armor always works. I often prefer dodge seals together with the dodge mastery and swiftness and maybe tabi as you can stack up a good amount with that, but for only seals, armor is better than dodge in my opinion as you won't have such a big dodge chance.

    Armor>Dodge with this Xin Build. Armor also helps alot for jungling.



    Summoner Spells:
    Ghost + Exhaust or Ignite

    First off: I hate Flash with a passion, take it if you want, I won't.
    Ghost is essential, don't ever play without it. The second spell is up to you. Choose Exhaust to take out an enemy Tryndamere or Yi if your team has no exhausts, take Ignite for that little extra damage. Pick Teleport if you really want to, I wouldn't do it tho.

    Ghost + Smite

    Pretty standard build here. You need Smite to jungle efficiently and Ghost will help you Gank and run in and out of battles.
    Other viable choices might be Flash and Ignite, but I just like Ghost the most. It really comes down to your personal preference but I think that every player should take at least one escape summoner spell.

  • Itembuilds

    There are a total of three efficient ways of playing Xin in my opinion.
    There might be other viable choices but I tried out alot and I think those three are the most useful.
    Remember those are just examples on how to build him. Every Item in this game should be considered situational and you should always adapt to your and your enemies team. For example there's no reason to get Randuin's Omen if the enemy team relies almost exclusively on Magical Damage.
    Let's go on with the builds:

    (In the section after this one, I will go more in-depht on specific items, so if you want reasonings on those, scroll down)

    Build Nr.1: Dps/Off-Tank. Balanced Xin-Zhao

    Mercury's Treads Youmuu's Ghostblade Randuin's Omen

    Build Order:
    [Item=Heart of Gold]; Boots of Speed; The Brutalizer-> Youmuu's Ghostblade; Warden's Mail-> Randuin's Omen

    This build relies heavily on Item actives as you can see. You want to rush into the middle of everyone, pop your Ultimate and Omen on as many people as possible and start wrecking faces with Ghostblade+Battle Cry+TTS.
    You can take quite a beating with Randuin's but you should still time your engage carefully.
    This build provides a good chunk of offense with a really good defensive item, that i would pick above Frozen Mallet any time (see section further below for reasoning)

    Build Nr.2: Dps/Anti-squishy/Ult-caster. Full out offensive Xin

    Mercury's Treads Youmuu's Ghostblade Sword of the Divine The Brutalizer

    Build Order:
    The Brutalizer; Mercury's Treads; Youmuu's Ghostblade; Sword of the Divine; another The Brutalizer

    This build is just crazy. With my ArPen Runeset i get up to 60(!!!)ArPen with this Itembuild, activate SotD and you get up to a whopping 90 ArPen. If you just jump into the middle of everyone,pop SotD and use your ultimate, it will deal almost full damage to everything that's not Rammus or Malphite. Additionally, you get really high attack speed (up to 2Attacks/second with ghostblade+Battle Cry). Any carry that gets focussed by you with this build will just run away crying.

    Build Nr.3: Dps/Anti-Tank Xin

    Mercury's Treads Youmuu's Ghostblade[Item=Madred's Bloodrazor]

    Build Order:
    Madred's Razors; Boots of Speed; The Brutalizer-> Youmuu's Ghostblade;[Item=Madred's Bloodrazor]

    This is simply a counter-measure against all those tanky teams and the tanky meta right now. I personally don't like this build too much, but it simply works really well against tanks so i consider it viable and good against a team with 3+ beefy champions.

  • in-depth item analysis

    I will use this to go in detail about a lot of items to help you create your own builds.
    (In progress)

    1.: Youmuu's Ghostblade
    Ahh, Ghostblade. As you can probably tell, i love this item to bits. I get it on Xin,Olaf,Irelia,Trundle and so on,and so on. It basically gives you everything you need plus a really good active for a reasonable price. Damage,ArPen,Crit,CDR and an attack+movespeed buff, if the abilities weren't unique i would just get 5 of those.


  • Core Build Examples/Stats

    1. DPS/ Off-Tank (6812 Gold)
    [builder=Xin Zhao/e481b443a8cce9f64c782d7874cccaa5]

    2. Armor Penetration Xin (7394 Gold)
    [builder=Xin Zhao/0ccfbc642c30814e046d4a3d05070ca4]

    3. Bloodrazor Xin (7687 Gold)
    [builder=Xin Zhao/a8ffc2c2a20513d758a4be1a62a5c1a0]

    -Used Merc Threads for all this Builds now because you will use them in most cases. Obviously you wanna change them depending on the enemy team.
    -There's also other viable Xin Zhao builds but this Guide focusses on the first 2.

  • Frozen Mallet discussion ( Mallet vs. Omen )

    Now, after reading the Itembuild many people will probably scream at me:
    "WOW WTFNOOB YOU NEED TO GET MALLET ON XIN!!!!". Well, I disagree.
    Let's look at it's stats:

    Frozen Mallet

    compared to

    Randuin's Omen

    700 HP seem nice. In fact 700 HP are very helpful, especially if you combine them with an Atma's Impaler afterwards. But in a normal game it's not likely that you will get a Frozen Mallet and an Impaler after the core items.

    So why not add Frozen Mallet to the core items? Well, it's simply outshined by other items in my opinion. Ghostblade is just awesome on Xin, no discussion about that. Now, let's compare Mallet and Omen:


    Randuin's is 2925 while Frozen Mallet is 3250.
    Not really a big difference here, but Randuin's still wins by a tiny bit.


    Frozen Mallet provides you with 700 HP while Randuin's Omen only gives 300 HP.
    So Mallet clearly wins,right? Wrong. Mallet gives ONLY HP for survivability, while Omen provides you with a big chunk of armor, a passive that may slow the attacker's movement and attackspeed and an additional active which slows their move and attackspeed even more. Furthermore it slows in an AoE.
    But if you look at it some other way, the 700 HP can really save you in some situations, especially if you get bursted. Randuin's doesnt help you in any way there. However in my opinion Randuin's beats Mallet in survivability by far, plus it's individual components give better survivability before you completed the item.


    Frozen Mallet obviously wins here as Randuin's Omen doesn't provide any damage. But I don't think you get an Item because of 20 Damage since it doesn't really boost your dps that much.

    Additional Effects:

    This is probably what it comes down to. Randuin's wins in most other categories but most people get Mallet because of the passive slow that is applied on hit. I can't really argue that this is a great thing, in fact it's awesome for chasing single heroes. However, Xin already has great chasing potential with a Leap+Slow plus a knockup on every 3rd hit which has a really low cooldown.
    Furthermore, Mallet only helps you with chasing. Randuin's can help you with that as it can also slow a running enemy, but it can furthermore help you in 1on1 situations since it also slows the attacker's ASPD actively and has a chance to do so passively.
    Additionally Randuin's Provides you with some Cooldown Reduction which helps your ultimate to be up even more often.

    On a side note you can use the Cloth Armor to build a Heart of Gold but it doesn't help you with Phage/Frozen Mallet. I also think the components for Frozen Mallet aren't nearly as usefull as Heart of Gold and Warden's Mail.

  • Skilling Order

    1.: You need your Q first for the increased damage so you're able to do Golem at level 1.
    2.: Battle Cry is the most important Skill to max early on in my opinion, as you want the cooldown reduction for jungling and the attack speed will greatly help your jungling and ganking early on.
    3.: Audacious Charge is maxed last, because you basically only want the Leap early on, damage and slow are not too important. However you need a point at lv.4 if you wanna gank efficiently.
    4.: Your Ultimate is obviously always upped when possible.

    So generally: Crescent Sweep> Battle Cry> Three Talon Strike> Audacious Charge

    Some people might want to max out TTS before Battle Cry, but in my opinion it's the worse option as Xin has a really low base attackspeed and the increased attackspeed will increase your damage more than upping your TTS damage, especially while jungling.

  • General Gameplay Tips

    1.General Combo:
    Audacious Charge-> Crescent Sweep->( Randuin's Omen->)
    ->Activate Battle Cry, Three Talon Strike, Youmuu's Ghostblade and start autoattacking.
    (You can activate TTS before you Charge in, but in my opinion it doesn't really make a difference)

    First of all: Even if you're having the abilities to,you should NOT be initiating!! The tank should be.
    So wait for that, and after he died your #1 priority is hitting as many people as possible with your Ultimate. So Charge an enemy Hero that's near others and start your combo. After your Ultimate and possible Randuin's you should start attacking the target that's most dangerous to your and your team. Most of the time that's the enemy's physical carry or a strong burst caster like Akali. Just communicate with your team so you focus the right target.

    (I'll definitely add more to this section if I think of anything!)

  • How to Jungle / Why jungle

    Guide on how to jungle:

    One thing to note is that map awareness is really important as a good jungler. Always gank the lanes first that are under pressure and need your help. If someone has to recall on a solo lane, abort your jungling and hold the lane until he comes back. Stuff like that.

    Why to jungle with Xin?

    Now I noticed that many people think Xin is a much better laner than he is a jungler and I partially agree. If you lane against a weak lane you will probably get gold faster than in the jungle. And if you're team already has a really good jungler like Amumu,Rammus or WW you should just let them jungle and go to lane.
    If not however, It's always good to have a hero at hand that can jungle and provide your team with another solo lane and the ability to gank really early on. Furthermore jungling always creates a threat on the enemies as they know you might be jumping out of the brush any second now.

  • Friends & Foes

    Section about synergys and heros to watch out for. Currently Being worked on!


    External Image/External Image/Galio
    AoE CC/Disable: Generally helpful to every team but they will especially help you since they can initiate,use their ultimate and you can rush in after and pop your Ultimate without too much problems.

    Janna: If you are not jungling but laning, this lane is absolutely devastating. Let Janna shield you, Charge in,TTS someone and go back. Because of the shield you will be almost undamaged and the enemy hero will have taken around 300damage. You can also combo her Whirlwind with your TTS for SUPER JUGGLING! :D

  • Disclaimer

    I'm just putting this in to avoid some stupid comments. I probably still will get some but maybe this will keep some people from doing them.

    As I already said Itembuilds are very dependant on the situation and there's many factors that influence the item build such as:
    -How good you are doing
    -How experienced you are with the hero
    -The enemy team composition and playstyle (do they focus or ignore you? Do they CC you alot?)

    So if the Itembuild doesn't work in some cases or if you have a build that often worked for you, I'm not saying that it's bad. I tried out many builds and those are the builds that seem to make the most sense to ME and that's why I suggest using them. If you think my build is terrible, go read another guide. If you wanna discuss different items however, feel free to leave a comment. I'm always open for constructive criticism or a nice debate as long as people don't start flaming and acting childish!

    Thanks for reading my guide.

Do you have your own
Build Guide?

Submitted by RadicalM1nd

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